An article in yesterday's newspaper staggered me -- although, on reflection, it shouldn't have. This was inevitable.
Rob Spence, a Canadian film maker, lost an eye in a childhood shooting accident. Since then, he has worn a glass eye. Now, however, he is having a prosthetic eye made that will look like a glass eye but will actually be a camera, complete with battery and transmitter. The camera movement will be controlled by his eye muscles, and it will record, secretly, whatever his other eye sees. The tiny camera is a variation of the one used to record colonoscopies.
With this equipment, Spence plans on making a documentary on the global spread of surveillance cameras.
When I read this, a hundred SF stories came to my mind: Gibson's Molly Millions, Sterling's "mechs," even TV's "The Six Million Dollar Man" (which today would be cheap at that price). My own writing tends to focus on reshaping humanity through genetic engineering, but I may in fact be backing the wrong horse. With pace makers for the heart, research into using brain activity to move prosthetic arms, plastic colon replacements, and camera eyes, the cyborg may outpace the genemod baby. And if much of this tinkering does end up involving the brain and the senses... Will we know when we are more robot than flesh? And with what prejudices and exploitations?
It may be that Kazuo Ishigoru (see previous blog) is worrying about the wrong future.